How appropriate is this gray and potentially stormy day on Good Friday. The dark and brooding clouds are virtually exploding with the emotion of the Crucifixion of our Lord. The words of the familiar hymn always haunt me on this day.
“Were you there when they crucified my Lord? Were you there when they nailed Him to the tree? Were you there when the sun refused to shine? Were you there when they sealed Him in the tomb? Were you there when they crucified my Lord?”
Sadly, the answer for me is – yes, I was there. The silent judgment of others, my passivity at blatant injustice, the unforgiven hurt, the bitter word, the good deed undone, the cheek not turned, the plank in my eye . . . put me squarely in the midst of the crowd. Oh, I was among the triumphant crowds on Palm Sunday cheering for the victorious Savior. But I jeered as this Savior was unable to save himself; surely no Savior would allow such a thing to happen to him. Why would one who is full of divinity, the very Son of God, endure such cruel punishment? Yes, indeed, why WOULD He?
His last words penetrate my hardened heart, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Barely clinging to life, gasping for each agonizing breath, He does not call down curses on his tormentors nor cry out for rescue — He speaks loving, healing words of forgiveness. And like the centurion that assisted in crucifying him, I cry, “Surely this is the Son of God!”
He forgave and He continues to forgive. It is Good Friday.
In His Grace and Mercy,